A short while ago I wrote a post on this blog about intercessory prayer. In it, I talked of the three areas of this type of prayer that seemed to be of interest:
• Who/what to pray for?
• How to pray for them?
• Why pray for them?
That particular post talked about 'Who/what to pray for'. Well, this is the second of the three and I'm thinking about 'How we pray for people/situations.' Those of you who find this area very easy might well be thinking, 'How? What does she mean, how? You just do it!' Ah, I wish it were so simple for me. And so, for any others who struggle with this area, here are three ways I have discovered to help.
This first way is the method I often use myself - it involves visualisation:
Once you are quiet and still in prayer, imagine God's hands held out in a cupped manner. Then (you have to be a bit Gulliver-ish here) think of the person or people you wish to bring before God in prayer. Imagine they are small enough to sit or lie in God's cupped hands and picture them there. I like to imagine them peacefully sleeping there.
Next visualise placing your own hands round God's hands and just allow yourself to feel... to feel whatever it is you do feel - compassion, love, perplexity, sadness - whatever is there inside you. And speak to God about what is on your heart and mind about the person/persons.
Then let the mental picture fade, before moving on to the next person or situation you wish to pray for.
Lighting candles is another way that people sometimes pray for others. These sorts of candles are called votive candles. Maybe you're not familiar with a church which has a votive candlestand available. But if you are reading this, then you do have access to use an on-line version. OK - not quite the same effect - but it can be means of focussing your thoughts and spending some time praying for someone. Try it at this site:
Light a candle
or, if you wish the person to know you are praying for them you could try this one:
Post a prayer
A third suggestion is to use posture to help you. Instead of sitting or kneeling (or lying for those of us who like to go to sleep praying!) try standing. Intercession is partly about representing the person before God. Stand before God, open to God, and speak your prayer out loud.
And may God bless you as you intercede.